Members of Parliament and Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) on Thursday launched a nationwide campaign, in Kampala to denounce the 1 per cent tax levied by government on mobile money transactions.
Themed: “Say No to Taxing Mobile Money”, members of civil Society and MPs urged Ugandans to denounce the mobile money tax, arguing that the tax may lead to more poverty in the rural areas’ households.
“Mobile money transactions are the only mode of financial transfers, available in the rural areas, where majority Ugandans live. They transact their meager finances through mobile money; as little as Shs 50,000 after selling their agricultural produce or Goats. To tax such peasants would be increasing poverty in the rural population”, said CSBAG Executive director, Julius Mukunda.
He added that major financial institutions are concentrated in the urban areas, thereby jeopardising majority rural areas households, from accessing banks to save their money.
“Mobile money is the only source of financial institution available in rural areas and must not be taxed as
this would suffocate the economic wellbeing of majority Ugandans”, he added.
Mubende Municipality MP, Anthony Ssemuli called upon government to protect Ugandans’ money from being stolen by unscrupulous financial institutions and other third parties.
“There are many next of kin Ugandans who fail to recover money belonging to their dead ones from financial Institutions. It’s very disturbing to note that such Ugandans lose their money, when government is supposed to enforce laws protecting them”, he said.
The MP for Maruzi, Maxwell Akora, reiterated the need for Ugandans to put their voices together, to ensure government
reverses its decision on taxing mobile money transactions.
“I want to assure you of my full support in this noble campaign, where I will mobilize my fellow Legislators to ensure Ugandans don’t lose money through these taxes”, he said.
CSBAG Budget Policy Specialist David Walakira said the 2017 Bank of Uganda Statistics indicate that Mobile Money transactions increased by about shs10 trillion (22.7 per cent) from Shs 44 trillion in 2016 to shs 54 trillion in 2017.
“However, mobile money users still struggle financially, where 64 per cent do not have an emergency fund, 31 per cent do not have enough food to eat and 59 per cent spend more than they earn”, he said.